Supermarket rant. No.1

It’s been many months since I did any work on this blog and I always feel bad about it, I think that if i worked with a PC all day I’d probably work on it a  little more often but at night I seem to just chill out and either forget or just cannot be arsed to write in it.

But the other day when I made an AudioBoo comment, I had a good friend of mine reply to my comment. Young Andy, who is one of my nearest and dearest buddies, and always takes the time to either insult or praise me in equal amounts, is often telling me that I am old before my time and that I spend far too much energy ranting about the things I find annoying in life. But then I thought “Hang on”, I could vent my spleen on my blog. I mean, It’s sitting there doing nothing and I might as well make use of it, and as so much in life pisses me off I reckon I have enough material to last a few more posts at least. So here goes my first of many rants, and today I’m focusing on my experiences in Supermarkets.

Now, we all have to go to the supermarket and It’s not as if anybody actually enjoys the experience is it? But really, why must I end up loathing almost the entire population within the store? I’m only going to rant about one particular bugbear of mine today but I have so many about Supermarkets that I will without doubt return to this topic. But today I’m concentrating on the Car Parks and how people use them.

So, there I am pulling into the local Tesco with the kiddies in the car and I’m looking for the “family bays”, these parking spaces are meant for people with young children or pushchairs and they are nearer to the entrance so the little angels don’t have so far to walk on their tired little legs. So many times I have arrived to find some idiot parked there with child seats in the back but with a distinct lack of ankle- biter, or worse still, there will be no evidence whatsoever of any child ever having been in that vehicle. No empty crisp packets, no mucky fingerprints on the windows or no toys strewn all over the car. Now this can only be down to laziness or the fact that they just want to piss me off. So then I have to park near the back of the car park and dodge the other idiots who insist on driving at well over the 10mph speed limit or decide to drive down the wrong way despite arrows clearly marking the correct direction. I mean come on, have some decency. These are the same people that park in disabled bays without a badge and just wonder off totally oblivious to the fact that a genuine person may need that space.

Another major “piss off” for me is those who simply cannot park properly. Those who find it impossible to park in between those white lines. It’s not tough is it? It seems that these morons cannot be bothered to reverse and line up properly. I  went to the same store the other day and watched this young couple pull into a space, the guy got out, looked at his utterly crap parking. His girlfriend commented on his bad parking but he thought it was quite amusing. He stopped the engine, locked the car and they both sauntered off leaving their heap of shit parked with one wheel encroaching into the neighbouring bay. I doubt he was smiling when he returned to his car to find a note under his windscreen wiper telling him exactly what his parking skills were like. (Hmm! I wonder who could have done that?)

One last thing I hate about Supermarket car-parks. When you have finished with your trolley, can you please return it to a trolley park? Don’t be a lazy git and just abandon it where you have unloaded it. Now this is purely down to having no regard for anyone else, these trolley parks are always only within a few meters of your car and it will only take a minute to push your wonkey trolley there. Have some respect and don’t be so damn lazy.

Well I think that is about it for my return to blog posting. As you have read, I hate Supermarket shopping and it’s a pity that we cannot avoid it. Online shopping is an option but many people I know who have tried it are often disappointed and they quite often end up with shit that they didn’t order. In an ideal world they’d shut the Supermarket so I could do my shopping in peace and quiet, but perhaps I need to be Michael Jackson for that to happen.

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Ticketmaster & Ticket Touts, I F****ng Hate You.

A couple of weeks ago Michael Jackson announced that he was going to perform twenty dates at the O2 arena. I was very excited about being given the opportunity to see one of my musical heroes once more.

I’ve been a big fan of Michael Jackson since “Thriller” came out in 1982 and I was lucky enough to see him at Wembley Stadium for the opening night of his “Bad” tour in the summer of  ’88. I was sixteen years old and queued for twelve and a half hours to see my idol,  It still marks as one of the best days of my life so far. I managed to get to the front of the crowd and I’ll never forget that atmosphere. I have also been to see him on other occasions 1992 and 1997 and each time it has been amazing but none as magical as my first concert.

Each time I bought a ticket, It seemed to be simply calling Wembley Stadium, and within a couple of weeks I’d have my tickets and then I could look forward to the big day safe in the knowledge that the ticket was in my house. Now of course, It’s very different.

As soon as this new tour was announced, I registered for the pre-sale window which allowed “real fans” to buy tickets a few days before they went on sale to the general public, as soon as I received my code I went online in the vein attempt to buy two tickets for myself and my best mate Chris (he went with me to the ’97 concert). Could I get any tickets though?

No sodding chance.  Ticketmaster, the company in charge of ticket distribution, were a joke. Not only was I unable to log on to the site, but I also couldn’t ring them ( you know, the old fashioned way, like back in the day when you could actually speak with somebody on the phone.) Four bloody days I tried to book these tickets before the general public sale, in these four days it was failure after failure. So I tried again at 7am on the day the tickets went on general sale, once more I was unable to complete the purchase and all tickets to all shows (including the extra dates well into 2010) were gone within four hours.

So out of interest, I logged onto Ebay to see what the tickets were selling for, and this is where I started to get even more pissed off. There were hundreds of tickets for sale and every one was going for more than fives face value with one pair up for the astonishing figure of £10,000 . Ten bloody Grand. Now the strange thing was that many of these sellers had only recently opened accounts and only had a couple of feedbacks. Another problem, these tickets weren’t even in the sellers possession. The buyer had to give over his money,  and then the seller would send the tickets via special delivery when they themselves received them from Ticketmaster. This could be upto ten days before the concert date. I can imagine all shades of shit hitting the fan with this arrangement. I started “watching” these items, not with the intention of buying but I wanted to see what people were willing to pay.

Well I was very pleased to see that a lot of them didn’t sell, many of them didn’t even reach reserve. A few re-listed with a much cheaper “buy it now” price than previous (sometimes cheaper by £200.) I hate to admit to a certain amount of glee at these at these poor souls not raking in as much profit as they had hoped.

So basically these tickets sold out very quickly to people who were more interested in making a quick buck than seeing Michael Jackson. I was under the impression that ticket touts were being clamped down on,  but I suppose that hasn’t happened. They only care about selling their stock and if arseholes are buying tickets and selling them off at stupid prices, then tough shit eh?

For the first time, I am unable to see my music hero when he tours over here and I’m gutted,  although I suppose I shouldn’t be too upset. After all the bloke is fifty years old and is well past his “best before” date. He simply cannot produce the same magic he did back in’88 or even ’92, and I would hate my memories of these days to be tarnished. I want to remember him as the great performer that he was.

X-Factor and Britney Spears short change British public.

Okay, now I know I’m going to get a lot of grief for this, but I love X-Factor when It’s done properly. I love the fact that someone with genuine talent is finally realising their dream and can belt out a tune that will almost bring me to tears. It’s only happened twice though, the fantastic Leona Lewis is a genuine world class singer and her story is what X-Factor is all about and I believe Alexandra this year can do almost as well, listening to her sing that second song of hers, I am now convinced she will win, utterly awesome.

Which brings me to the point of this post. Britney Spears. All week ITV were saying this was her first performance in the UK since her comeback and I was looking forward to seeing her. Now I’m not a particularly big fan of Britney, but I am a fan of anyone who can come back from such a dark place as she was. Just a few months ago it looked very bleak for her as she self-destructed and showed herself up to the rest of the world, so I really wanted her to do well last night and seal her comeback with a stunning performance.

What we got was nothing short of a disgrace. X Facor is a show where non-professional singers sing live to an audience of millionwhich takes massive kahunas. So then along comes Britney Spears, multi-platinum albums, professional who has been in the business for years, and she comes on and mimes her way through her single. Now I think this is unforgiveable. She concentrated on a bland dance routine and was more interested in looking good than actually sounding decent.

Over the weeks we have had Leona Lewis, Will Young, Mariah Carey and Take That. All have sang live and Take That along with Mariah spent time with the contestants during the week giving advice to the nervous wanabees which must have really helped them. But no not Britney, she just came on the stage for a few minutes, danced some crappy dance and mimed badly. I was so angry that she had done this, is she really talentless? I so wanted to nearly be brought to tears with a powerful performance that said “I’m back and I have beaten my demons and now I’m betterthan ever”. But what we got was a damp squib which left a nasty taste in the mouth and I was glad when she left.

So there you go, my rant at Britney. Not important in the wider world, but this performance was so hyped and delivered so little. Sorry Britney, could do better. Why don’t you watch Alexandras second performance of the night for some ideas.

Nintendo and Sony have stopped me reading books.

For many many years I used to read every single day. I would read for at least an hour every night before lights out and would bring out my trusted paperbackat any given opportunity. At one point I was lucky enough to have a job that allowed me to indulge in what at the time, was my favourite pastime. I would read constantly and got through several books a month. My book collection took pride of place (along with my Trek videos) and I had to arrange them in author by author order. Totally anal about it all.

Then, a couple of years ago I bought a Nintendo DS and a Sony PSP. I have always been into console gaming but whereas before I could switch off the console and just chill in bed reading Stephen King, now I could take the game into that bed and waste away the hours dragging styluses and giving myself Playstation thumb (that horrible cramp you suffer from too much PSP action.

Over the months, I discovered I wasn’t getting through the books anymore. Indeed, I was taking far too long to read anything and my precious books were gathering dust, instead of reading a few pages in my spare moments, I would fire up the PSP for a couple of missions on GTA or try to get the elusive gold stars on Mario Kart DS, It even got to the point where I’d play the damn things on the toilet.

I would say now that I haven’t read a book in over two years and I have a couple of dozen unread books in my bookshelf. And I feel sooo guilty. I realise that gaming is probably doing me no favours and I do miss a good read in the evening  but I just can’t seem to snap myself out of it, the lure of my jet black shiny DS or PSP almost always wins and once more find my self with achy thumbs at gone midnight.

Now I really do need to change my ways. I have two young children and I always stated that reading was so important and that I would set a good example to them by teaching them the importance and beauty of the book. I now have to cut down on the consoles and try to extend my vocabulary again. I have made a good start by reading to them every night before they go to sleep and all three of us enjoy those final few minutes of their day. Perhaps soon I will discover the paperback reading bug once more and get back to some sort of normalcy. (but I wouldn’t hold your breath though).